Staff & Board

Jul 30, 2014, 14:14
Across the country, people took to the streets on May 1, 2013 to support comprehensive immigration reform.

5 Things to Watch for in Immigration Debate

Thursday, 09 May 2013 13:47

On May Day 2013 thousands of people turned out onto the streets in hundreds of cities to march for comprehensive immigration reform. With the process partially underway, IREHR takes a look at five different things human rights supporters should be keeping an eye on as the debate moves forward.

1. Tea Partiers Lead the Counter-Mobilization

In contrast to the seeming “consensus” view that immigration reform is a fait accompli, anti-immigrant forces still think they can kill the bill. Unlike the 2005-2007 battles over comprehensive immigration reform, however, there isn’t a unified opposition lead by a close-knit network of anti-immigrant groups. This time, the situation is much more fluid and complicated.

Tea Party Patriots Pivoting from Guns to Immigration, Protesting Outside Sen. Rubio's Florida office, April 16, 2013

Tea Party Joins Gun Lobby to Kill Gun Background Checks

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 14:24

Defeating immigration reform next on the Tea Party agenda.

On April 17, the Senate failed to overcome the 60-vote threshold necessary to end a filibuster on bipartisan legislation to expand gun background checks to gun shows and internet sales. The bill garnered a 54-vote majority versus 46 opposed, but fell short of the 60 needed to overcome the minority’s filibuster.

The legislation, written by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), was the centerpiece of gun safety efforts in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut murders. Failed amendments to the bill including an effort to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and several GOP-sponsored efforts that weaken existing gun laws.

It took a concerted effort by the gun lobby and their Tea Party allies to block universal background check legislation, which currently has the support of roughly 90% of the American public according to recent opinion polls.

Efforts by gun lobby groups including the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms were fierce. Their efforts were supplemented by national and local Tea Party groups who rallied outside the local offices of several Senators and flooded Senate phone lines with calls and faxes.

Some of the Tea Party and Tea Party-Sponsored Figures Scheduled at CPAC 13. Top (left to right): Amy Kremer, Richard Mack, Tom Cefaratti. Bottom (left to right): Judson Phillips, Jenny Beth Martin, Bill Norton.

Tea Party Dominates CPAC 2013 Agenda

Wednesday, 06 March 2013 19:59

For decades, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has been a barometer of the different political tendencies inside the right-wing. In the 1980s, Reagan administration officials and Reaganite New Rightists dominated the podium.  Pres. Reagan spoke at CPAC in both 1984 and 1988.  In the 1990s, culture warriors like Pat Buchanan and the Rev. Pat Robertson joined Republican regulars such as Sens. Bob Dole and Phil Gramm. At this years’ CPAC13, Tea Party leaders and Tea Party-supported politicians will dominate the proceedings.  The result is an agenda filled with bigots, conspiracy mongers, and publicity hounds.

Rep. Joe Walsh (left), Rep. Allen West (right)

Tea Party Endorsed Candidates and Election 2012

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 23:40

In the Senate races, Tea Party-endorsed candidates fared even worse in 2012 than they did in 2010. This year, national Tea Party groups and their PACs endorsed thirteen candidates. Eleven lost. Only Jeff Flake in Arizona and Ted Cruz in Texas won, giving them a 15% winning percentage in 2012. By contrast, in 2010 10 of 16 Tea Party endorsed candidates won – a 62.5% winning percentage.

Western States Center's 2012 AMP Conference

Taking On the Tea Party: It's Our Time Now

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:00

On July 28, 2012, IREHR's Devin Burghart gave a keynote speech at the Western States Center's annual training and skills conference, AMP, an event that drew over 400 activists and organizers from states across the west. Devin used the occasion to remind the attendees of lessons past and to talk about the tasks everyone faces today. This speech is a most powerful indictment of the Tea Party movement, and a call for people of good will—no matter what their principal issue of concern—to understand that the Tea Party movement must be actively opposed by us all.

Supreme Court’s Arizona SB 1070 Ruling Flares Tea Party Nativism

Supreme Court’s Arizona SB 1070 Ruling Flares Tea Party Nativism

Monday, 02 July 2012 15:52

The legislative log jam in Congress has been brutal.  Since the administration of President George W. Bush, the anti-immigrant establishment has stymied every attempt to enact comprehensive immigration reform. During the same period, nativists have conducted a drive in the states to re-write legislation and make Latino immigrant’s life exceedingly difficult.  In the words of the state legislation’s principal author, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, its goal was “attrition through enforcement.”  Translated it meant that if you made life miserable for immigrants they would “self-deport.”  The archetype of this state legislation was to be Arizona’s SB 1070, written to avoid the constitutional pitfalls that had sunk California’s Proposition 187 and Hazelton, Pennsylvania’s local ordinance before it.

The Tea Party Express Bus Visited Wisconsin Twice in the Last Year

The Tea Party Impact in Wisconsin

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 18:31

On Tuesday, June 5, in a hotel meeting room two thousand miles away from a recall election that was being watched coast to coast, the Washington State coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, Woody Hertzog, regaled a small group of Tea Partiers assembled in the Puget Sound town of Silverdale with tales of his recent campaigning trip in the Wisconsin trenches. Hertzog told the group that he and other Tea Party activists from across the country poured into the state, becoming a door-to-door army in support of Governor Walker. The election was still taking place half way across the country, yet it was all these Puget Sound Tea Partiers wanted to talk about.  Midway through the meeting, the results from the Wisconsin special election came in. When it was announced that Governor Walker and other Tea Party supported candidates were victorious, the room erupted in cheers and applause. One older man in the back of the room commented aloud, “I guess we can put away our guns, for now.”

Indiana Tea Party Express Rally

The Tea Party Impact in Indiana

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 15:24

The resounding victory of Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock over six-term Senator Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary resurrected the Tea Party movement as a potent force in much of the public mind. Yet some regarded Mourdock's victory as a re-affirmation of their belief that "Big Money" determines all outcomes, and that the Tea Parties had little to do with it.

In IREHR's analysis of these recent events, by contrast, three factors were relevant: the Tea Parties' unanimous choice to support Mourdock; a decision by the Tea Party to begin campaigning more than twelve months before the election date; and the movement's choice of a ground game rather than an air war significantly impacted the low-turnout election. In short, a year of coordinated efforts between national and local Tea Party groups organizing around a set of Tea Party ideas led to a primary victory and put them back into the center of the national conversation.

Tea Party leader and Article II super PAC board member George Miller speaks to the Santa Barbara California Republican Assembly

Tea Partiers Launch Birther Super PAC

Wednesday, 08 February 2012 11:30

Believe it or not, the so-called birthers are back. As if the post Citizens United world of campaign finance wasn't sketchy enough, along comes a new super PAC created specifically to regurgitate racist conspiracy theories claiming President Obama is not a natural-born American, and thereby supposedly barred from holding the presidency.

The group has already started running ads.